Extra Support for Families of Loved Ones in Nursing Care
By Ruth Mathewson Hays, BSW, Community Development Advocate


Hearing of restricted visitation policies at senior care facilities has unfortunately become all too familiar these days. While the spread of COVID-19 necessitates these safety precautions, families of those who reside in these facilities are finding that maintaining ongoing contact with their loved ones and those who care for them can often be difficult.

If you have a loved one who is currently in a participating nursing home or assisted living facility, you can ensure their quality of life is being maintained at the highest level possible by enrolling them in Independent Health’s Medicare Family Choice® HMO-Institutional Special Needs Plan (ISNP).* 

Since 2005, the Family Choice plan has been providing an extra level of care and support to residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Erie, Niagara and Genesee counties. Plan members are assigned a Family Choice Nurse Practitioner (NP) and a Social Worker who work in collaboration with the facility staff to develop an individualized care plan that addresses the member’s specific needs, as well as identify potential problems before they become serious. The Family Choice NP keeps in close contact with the family, making sure they are involved in the care-planning process and helping bring them peace of mind.

Other key plan features 

  • Enrollment any time of the year
  • Monthly plan premium of $42.30 (there may be no cost for those who qualify for Medicaid)
  • Low or no out-of-pocket costs
  • 36 one-way trips to plan-approved locations for medically necessary care (30-mile limit)

High satisfaction survey results

A recent survey** of people whose loved ones are enrolled in Family Choice showed that 98 percent are satisfied with the plan. Here is some of their feedback:

  • “The Family Choice staff are always responsive to my concerns, communicate promptly, and with knowledge of my mother’s status. The program exceeded all expectations.”
  • “I am so grateful to have the Family Choice Nurse Practitioner checking on my mother during COVID restrictions. This has been important and reassuring.”
  • “The extra caring help during this COVID crisis has given me peace of mind. Having another pair of eyes to check the welfare of my loved one is priceless.”

To learn more about the Family Choice plan, please call (716) 635-4900 or 1-800-958-4405 (TTY users: 711), Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Independent Health is a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract offering HMO, HMO-SNP, HMO-POS and PPO plans. Enrollment in Independent Health depends on contract renewal. *This plan is available to all individuals eligible for Medicare who are entitled to Medicare Part A and enrolled in Part B, except those with ESRD unless already enrolled with Independent Health. Members must be a permanent resident of a participating nursing or assisted living facility, qualify for an institutional level of care as defined by the State of New York, and select and use a Primary Care Provider who participates with Independent Health. **Survey conducted by Family Choice in September 2020 with 736 families/caregivers surveyed and 253 families/caregivers (34%) responding.